When people take the property of someone else with the intention of keeping it, they are committing theft. Texas has severe penalties in place for those who receive a theft conviction.
The penalties vary depending on the type and value of the stolen property. While someone may only face a fine for a low-value theft, a high-value item may lead to jail time.
When the item taken is worth less than $50, the theft is a Class C misdemeanor and may lead to a fine of up to $500. If the property value is between $50 and $500, then the conviction is a Class B misdemeanor, which may lead to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
People convicted of theft of property with a value between $500 to $1,500 may face a Class A misdemeanor, which may lead to a $4,000 fine and as long as 12 months in jail.
The following property value ranges determine the level of the felony conviction and the penalties for theft:
- $1,500 to $20,000: state jail felony conviction, as many as two years in jail, up to $10,000 fine
- $20,000 to $100,000: third-degree felony, as many as 10 years in jail, up to $10,000 fine
- $100,000 to $200,000: second-degree felony, as many as 20 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine
- $200,000 or more: first-degree felony, up to life in prison, up to $10,000 fine
There is specific property that may lead to a felony conviction, even if the value is less than $1,500. For example, if a person steals an election ballot or an item from a grave, the crime becomes a state jail felony. Taking livestock or a controlled substance may lead to a third-degree felony conviction.